. : : February 1st, 2013 : : .
Sometimes opening acts fit into a set like a glove. Other times, the opener is so stylistically different that you wonder what the promoter was thinking putting them on the same bill.
Aidan Knight, opening for Hannah Georgas, leaned decidedly towards the latter.
It wouldn’t have always been like that, though. After all, they have a decent amount in common. They’re both based in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. They’re only a scant three years apart in age. They both cut their teeth in folksy, singer-songwriter genres on the west coast music scene. They were both promoting their recently-issued sophomore albums. But by the time they shared a stage at Toronto’s Mod Club Theatre, they had taken drastically different turns on the proverbial fork in the road.
Hannah’s recent eponymous album ditched guitar driven, indie rock for layered synth and keys-based pop. However, Aidan’s efforts leaned into more traditional instrumentation and he had brought violin, horns, and propulsive percussion to the stage to augment his guitar-centric indie rock.
His songs mostly followed a familiar pattern: quietly picked guitar strings over a pair of contemplative verses or so that slowly begin building in tempo and orchestration until it exploded in an all out chaotic overture; but something about the formula connected with the crowd at the Mod Club that night.
The usually notoriously indifferent Toronto crowd had shown up in droves for the opener — if not quite at capacity crowd by the time Aidan and The Friendly Friends took the stage, it was as close as you can ask for — and for the most part, the some-six-hundred attendees the Mod Club holds was impressively, unexpectedly quiet and respectful. This was especially evident during the quietest number of the night, Margaret Downe, stripped to a core solo voice-and-guitar ballad, where nary a peep can be heard in the recording not emanating from the stage.
You wouldn’t think it possible: a stylistically differing opening act singing about knitting (Knitting Something Nice For You) would hush a venue of synth-pop fans into near-silence. Yet, there was something kinetic and perhaps even entrancing about the set that just seemed to work.
The proof is in the pudding. This tape, pulled from more than seven years collecting dust unnecessarily in the archive, is crisp, clean, and (almost) devoid of the interruption of nearby chatter and clatter typical of a live audience recording.
New listeners, be patient:. Aidan’s songs can take a few minutes to grow and build into something spectacular. Only a couple of songs clock in at under 5-minutes, and the band uses that space to structure the eventual whole piece-by-piece. By the time everyone has joined in, the songs have reached a crescendo of enthusiastic energy nary hinted at in the songs’ opening minutes, and are performed with a confidence and conviction that doesn’t need to be seen to be experienced.
Familiar listeners? Well, I bet you know what to expect, so go ahead and click on the download link — and enjoy!
- Dream Team
- A Mirror
- You Will See The Good In Everyone
- Margaret Downe
- Knitting Something Nice For You